“Who Are We and Why Are We Here”?  Part 2

“Who Are We and Why Are We Here”?  Part 2

 
Continued from last week . . .
 
I am firmly convinced that the Seventh-day Adventist Church is God’s last-day church, the Remnant Church of Revelation 12:17. This does not mean that only Seventh-day Adventists will be saved. God has his people in all churches. In Revelation 18:2 the fourth angel proclaims, “Babylon is fallen” and in verse 4 he says, "Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. (Rev 18:4 NKJ). Yes, many of God’s people are still in Babylon. I have always told my students, “There will be many Catholics in heaven, many Protestants, and some Adventists.”
 
Nevertheless, God called this church into existence and has given us a special message, the three angel’s messages of Revelation 14, to proclaim to the world, to prepare it for the Second Advent. In order to do this, we need to understand these messages. And in order to proclaim them we need to be grounded in the Word of God. We need to study it and accept what it says as it reads, and not explain away its plain meaning. According to the Spirit of Prophecy, “If men would but take the Bible as it reads, . . . a work would be accomplished that would make angels glad and that would bring into the fold of Christ thousands upon thousands who are now wandering in error” (GC 598).
 
In other words, when Scripture says, “in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day” (Exod 20:11) it means he created the world in six days and not in six million years. And when God says, “`You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination” (Lev 18:22), It means just that! It means that homosexual practice is a sin, whether it is a loving relationship or not. Friends, take the Bible as it reads, unless there are good reasons to understand it symbolically or metaphorically.
 
From time to time we need to be reminded that we serve a living God. We know from Scripture that Satan is angry with the Remnant Church. He has seen to it that worldliness and pluralism have entered the Seventh-day Adventist Church as never before. Theological pluralism presents a tremendous challenge to the unity of the church today.
 
The theological controversies in the church in recent decades have produced different brands of Adventism.
 
Today we have:         Evangelical Adventists
Progressive Adventists
Historic Adventist
Main stream Adventists
 
All of them claim to represent the true Adventism. When I began my ministry in 1971, the theological discussions at that time centered on the sanctuary, the Spirit of Prophecy, perfection, the nature of Christ – specific teachings of interest to Adventists. Today, the theological controversies in our church are much more basic, dealing with fundamental Christian teachings:
1. The Trinity – Is Christ really God from eternity? Is the Holy Spirit a person?
2.  Creation – Did God create the world in 7 days or 7 eons
3.  Atonement – Did Jesus die as our substitute or only as our example?
4.  The Bible – How much of the Bible is inspired? Is all of the Bible reliable or is it reliable only when it talks about salvation?
 
Some of our people are no longer convinced that the SDA Church is the Remnant Church of prophecy, that Ellen White is a true prophet, and that our sanctuary teaching is biblical. They are in danger of forgetting who we are and why God has called this church into existence. And Satan would love nothing more than for this to happen.
 
So, please, brethren and sisters, never forget who we are and why God has called this church into existence. He is wonderfully blessing His church. We praise the Lord for the progress the Seventh-day Adventist Church is making worldwide.
 
According to the office of Archives and Statistics at the General Conference, on any given day, more than 3,000 people join the church – a Pentecost every day! Every hour over 120 people are baptized; every minute, at least two individuals are baptized, Praise the Lord!
 
Yet, as you all know, we also face significant challenges. There are still about 4 billion people who have never heard the Adventist message. Most of them live in what is called the 10/40 window. At times one could almost despair of ever finishing the task, but God has ways and means we cannot imagine.
 
God will finish his work, “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' Says the LORD of hosts” (Zech 4:6 NKJ). So let us rejoice and be glad, and let us “fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith” (Heb 12:2 NIV).
 
Gerhard Pfandl, Ph.D.
Associate Director (part-time)
Biblical Research Institute